“Based on the HRCSL written and oral response to the issues above, the SCA is of the view that the HRCSL has not effectively engaged on and publicly addressed all human rights issues including allegations of deaths in custody and torture, nor has it spoken out in a manner that promotes and protects all human rights.

An NHRI’s mandate should be interpreted in a broad, liberal, and purposive manner to promote a progressive definition of human rights which includes all rights set out in international, regional and domestic instruments. NHRIs are expected to promote and ensure respect for all human rights, democratic principles and the strengthening of the rule of law in all circumstances, and without exception. Where serious violations of human rights are imminent, NHRIs are expected to conduct themselves with a heightened level of vigilance and independence.

Further, the SCA highlights that regular and constructive engagement with human rights defenders and civil society organizations is essential for NHRIs to fulfil their mandates effectively.

The SCA also notes that the HRCSL did not submit a parallel report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

The Paris Principles recognise that monitoring and engaging with the international human rights system, in particular the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms (Special Procedures and Universal Periodic Review) and the United Nations human rights treaty bodies, can be an effective tool for NHRIs in the promotion and protection of human rights domestically.

Depending on existing domestic priorities and resources, effective engagement with the international human rights system may include:

  • submitting parallel or shadow reports to the Universal Periodic Review, Special Procedure mechanisms and treaty bodies;
  • making statements during debates before review bodies and the Human Rights Council;
  • assisting, facilitating, and participating in country visits by United Nations experts, including Special Procedures mandate holders, treaty bodies, fact finding missions and commissions of inquiry; and
  • monitoring and promoting the implementation of relevant recommendations originating from the human rights system.

The SCA encourages the HRCSL to strengthen its efforts to address all human rights issues, including those noted above. The SCA further encourages the HRCSL to ensure that its positions on these issues are made publicly available, as this will contribute to strengthening the credibility and accessibility of the institution for all people in Sri Lanka.”